What is a linkage? I didn't know either, but linkages are coming to the Racine area between Labor Day and Thanksgiving. I first heard about linkages at yesterdays RUSD school board meeting at the DeKoven Center. When I asked what they were, Russ carlsen handed me 12 pages of bold face print entitled "Linkage Strategy Outline." So far as I can tell, linkages are an effort by the school board to link with various groups within our community. The main topic of conversation is "Creating the future: RUSD in 2015." The conversations will take place with focus groups comprised of individuals from defined groups, such as blacks, business leaders, teachers, etc... and with unspecified key communicators, and at community forums. The following are the questions for discussion:
1. The year is 2015. During the past 9 years, RUSD has transformed itself, and has been recognized by the US Department of Education as one of the 10 most exemplary public school districts in the US. New neighbors have asked you to describe RUSD to help them decide whether to enroll their children here. How would you describe the district in terms of:
A. Students' acedemic preperation
B. Its operational efficiencies
C. The state of the district's facilities
2. In order to fully prepare our students to live and perform well in the world they will inherit in 2015, what will they need beyond academic preperation?
3. What would be required to make this vision of the future reality?
4. What are the barriers we must overcome in order to succeed?
It is fairly obvious how this will play out. The carefully chosen attendees, all firm believers in public education, will present their wish list. The graduates will have excellent test scores in all the important subjects. The district will operate smoothly and efficiently. The facilities will be top notch. In addition to solid reading and math skills, students will need political grooming to become citizens of the world. Obviously, we will need first rate teachers paid top dollar. We will need money, lots of money, for great teachers and first rate facilities. And in order to get this money, we will have to elect Democrats, lots of Democrats. As such, the barriers to this vision of success are those people who do not believe in our vision. Those people include many Republicans, advocates of school vouchers, and assorted greedy people who don't want to be taxed out of their homes.